Tuesday, July 21, 2015

REVIEW: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Young Elites by Marie Lu was exactly my kind of book. In fact, if I'd know how wonderfully dark this book and the main character would be, I think I would have picked this book up far sooner.

It's so rare, I think, to read of a character like Adelina.  And it would probably be easy for her to be turned into a different kind of character if she wasn't written just right. But I think Marie Lu did an amazing job of having her do questionable things but still remain as sympathetic as she is. There wasn't a single page or chapter where I wasn't rooting for her or hoping the best for her. And I think that's where the skill lies in Marie Lu.

The Young Elites is the first book in a trilogy set in a fantasy land in which an illness spread many years ago and some of the survivors were left with markings and these marked survivors are branded malfettos and treated like second-class citizens. But amongst the malfettos are a small group of people who possess gifts or powers that further separate them from the majority.  They are called the Young Elites.

Adelina is a malfetto, her hair is silver and she is left with a scar where one of her eyes used to be. And since childhood, her father has beaten her and treated her horrifically in the hopes that Adelina's gifts would show themselves. Things begin to change when Adelina leaves home and is taken in by a band of young elites whose aim is to overthrow the corrupt government and put the outcast malfetto prince back on the throne. Adelina spends a great deal of time in this book mistrustful of her surroundings and this unusual band of superpowered teenagers. But also mistrustful of herself and the things she is capable of.

And I loved every second of this book.

I did. I loved it. I loved Adelina and her internal struggles, especially her uncertainty of where she fits into the world. I loved her bond with her little sister and her conflicted feelings for Enzo, the malfetto prince. I loved her friendship with Raffaele.  And everything about the ways in which Adelina is trained and getting a clearer picture of what she can do. There is just so much about this book that made my heart sing.

But I think it was really just the magnetic pull of Adelina as a character that made me fall so hard for this book.  There's something deeply dark about this book. But it's also sexy and painful and just felt really truthful.  The pain that Adelina feels as she has faced such hardship and rejection in her life makes for a complex character in which darkness competes with her goodness.

I'm absolutely gasping to read the sequel to this book.  I finished The Young Elites and I wanted nothing more than to flip this book back to the front and read it all over again just to be back in this world and with these characters.

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